Sue Marsh reports on our visit to DURRANCE MANOR in Shipley on 11th May:
The wisteria was blooming on the lovely apricot coloured walls of Gordon Lindsay’s 14th century hall house, the choisya filled the air with its delicious scent, the tulips were still in flower – and Gordon was the perfect host! He took great trouble to open the veranda doors (swollen with the winter’s incessant rain) and find cushions for the chairs, and he told us how the garden had evolved over the years.
His late wife, Joan, had spent four years in Japan and that country’s influence is everywhere apparent. A row of rounded box bushes lead us from the veranda towards the ha-ha and everywhere bushes of varying colours are clipped into elegant shapes; some layered as a cake without the butter icing, others rounded or pyramidal.
Ornamental trees lean over the pond, boulders placed in the gravel of the path, as they are in the more thickly layered pebbles of the Japanese garden. The garden flows calmly across the two acre site and when we were there even the inevitable raindrops fell elegantly into the pond! In the meadow we Arundelians were delighted to see Andrea Schulewitz’s great red sculpture – square on square echoing the order of the place, and here Gordon has planted laburnum trees so as to create a tunnel; one is already blooming!
This is a garden of supreme elegance, beauty rendered more poignant by an all-too-lifelike wooden crocodile at the foot of the bridge over the pond – et in arcadia ego!
Everything is special at Durrance: two highly intelligent minds have created ………..arcadia.
Members may like to know that the garden is open under the National Garden Scheme from 12 noon to 6 pm on Monday, 28 August, when shiny faced dahlias will fill the beds.